Rowan University’s Improvements and Additions

GLASSBORO — Established in 1923 as a teacher preparatory college, Rowan University has evolved into a comprehensive public research university offering a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs with a commitment to fostering intellectual growth, community engagement, and research advancements.

Now with the extended campuses in Stratford, Camden, the main campus in Glassboro, and online, Rowan University is one of the four universities to offer medical M.D. and D.O. degrees in the nation.

Recently, the university announced that it will be adding an immersive veterinarian program as well as an expansion to their Fossil Park. These changes hope to draw in more students and to expand their staff as well.

The first addition is the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum of Rowan University in Mantua Township, which rises from a former marl quarry, offering a world-class destination steeped in the fascinating deep-time perspective of the fossil record. Perched elegantly above the 65-acre landscape, the museum commands attention with its panoramic view of the muddy depths where 66-million-year-old marine and terrestrial fossils capture the final moments of the dinosaur era.

Anticipated to open its doors in the summer of 2024, the museum aims to welcome over 200,000 visitors annually, blending seamlessly sustainability, preservation, and site-specific design with state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits and galleries. Led by the esteemed Founding Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, research at the site illuminates the ancient events leading to the world’s fifth mass extinction, providing visitors with a profound understanding of the cataclysmic forces that shaped our planet.

Lacovara is dedicated to uncovering and studying extinct life forms. He conducts fieldwork to discover species that contribute to our understanding of Earth’s history.

Internationally renowned, Lacovara gained fame for his discovery of dreadnoughtus schrani, a colossal herbivorous dinosaur found in Patagonia, weighing approximately 65 tons and dating back 77 million years. His groundbreaking discovery garnered widespread media attention.

A respected fellow of the Explorers Club, Lacovara has conducted research across five continents and is at the forefront of utilizing advanced technologies like 3D printing and computer modeling in dinosaur studies.

Raised in South Jersey, he earned his bachelor’s degree in geography with minors in biology and anthropology from Rowan University in 1984, followed by a master’s degree in coastal geomorphology from the University of Maryland College Park in 1986 and a doctorate in geology from the University of Delaware in 1998. His TED Talk, presented in 2016 at the annual TED Conference in Vancouver under the theme “Deep Memory,” has garnered over 4 million views.

The museum’s offerings extend far beyond static displays, offering immersive experiences, full-scale reconstructions of ancient creatures, captivating live animal attractions, and exhilarating virtual reality explorations that transport visitors back in time.

Embracing eco-friendly practices, the museum proudly boasts cutting-edge geothermal and solar technologies, making it New Jersey’s largest public net zero facility, while simultaneously championing the restoration of surrounding habitats and landscapes. With its mission deeply rooted in the principles of exploration, discovery, and responsible stewardship of our planet, the museum serves as a beacon of enlightenment, fostering a sense of wonder and connection to the natural world while inspiring future generations to enjoy.

According to Rowan University’s news platform the Fossil Park is going to include:

  • Immersive virtual reality (VR)
  • Paleo sculptures by world-renowned prehistoric artist Gary Staab
  • Dioramas of scenes from the prehistoric period
  • A 120-seat, stadium style theater
  • Opportunities for visitors to level-up through eleven layers of achievement
  • A Cretaceous garden providing visitors a sense of what the landscape of the period would have been like
  • Critter Cove features live animals, including a saltwater touch tank
  • Café, museum store, and special events facilities
  • Playground created by Toronto designer Earthscape featuring a pterosaur with 45-foot wingspan
  • A real fossil digging experience
  • Natural trails

Although there is not an exact date for the Fossil Park to open, but be sure to follow the Fossil Park on social media and their website: rowan.edu/fossils/

The next new addition that is coming to Rowan University is the Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine. Phillip Barnes, the Public Relations and Communications Manager for the Veterinary School, said, “The school plans to welcome its first class of 70 students in Fall 2025 pending American Veterinary Medical Association COE approval. Eventually, a class of 90 will be admitted annually.”

In addition to the new program, a new 167,000 square foot complex will be a standalone building and include a teaching hospital, academic building, and research space housing the School of Translational Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine building will be located on Rowan University’s main campus in Glassboro. Along with the building, the program has access to the equine and large animal field service began operation in February 2024. For hands-on training for the program, there is Rowan-Gloucester County Spay Neuter Clinic, SSVM faculty are performing spays and neuters for adoptable dogs and cats housed at the Gloucester County Animal Shelter.

SSVM also continues to partner with outside facilities that will offer training opportunities to students in the DVM program. Some notable examples include Six Flags Great Adventure Wild Safari, Marine Mammal Stranding Center and Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.

When asked why they decided to start this program here, Phillip replied, “The school will address an increase in demand for veterinarians in New Jersey and across the nation, as well as provide an in-state option for aspiring veterinarians right here. Currently, there are just 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and only five on the east coast.”

The closest veterinary school we have as of right now is at the University of Pennsylvania. Having a program located in New Jersey will be able to open doors for residents who are not able to relocate.

Rowan University has 11 open positions ranging from grant writing, toxicology faculty, research associate, and so on. You can find these job postings at jobs.rowan.edu. If you are interested in applying for the program coming in Fall 2025, be sure to follow Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine on social media as well as svm.rowan.edu to view the requirements to apply.

The next couple of years are going to be exciting and expansive for Rowan University. The Shreiber School of Veterinary Medicine is going to be an exceptional addition to Rowan as well as the community as well as the extended Fossil Park. Be sure to be on the lookout for the exciting and immersive experiences coming our way.

By Monica Segeren

One Response

  1. I am a 1953 graduate of Glassboro State Teachers College. After spending 3 years of
    Military Service spent 11 years as Earth Science and Chairman of the Science
    Department at Clayton HS, Clayton, NJ. In 1967 hired by Glassboro Sate to teach Astronomy & designed and also taught Meteorology. Thomas Robinson hired me and I remained an Astronomy teacher through 2014. I wrk out in the Rec Center 4 days
    each week. Sincerely, Dr Wellington Woods, retired, Department of Physics
    &. Astronomy.

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